Managing one business location is complicated; add in multiple locations and several different channels of distribution and the complexity only grows. In distributed retail, businesses are faced with everything from dealing directly with customers, to more complex scenarios, which can involve up to three intermediaries between the manufacturer and the end user. Whatever the product is and whatever path it travels, bidirectional communication, data tracking, and analytics are paramount for equipping teams with the insights they need to optimize business flow.
In 2021, whatever tracking and communication system is in place will typically be powered by the WiFi. Whether employees are managing onsite processes or communicating with remote wholesalers and retailers, the WiFi network provides the foundation for most critical tasks. This makes optimizing the network a top priority. It must not only provide reliable service in real-time but also be future-proofed to protect business continuity. To get the job done efficiently and cost-effectively, distributed retail enterprises should work with a WiFi Automation platform.
WiFi Assurance with WiFi Automation
WiFi Assurance refers to the process of making WiFi predictable and reliable. In essence, it means having the confidence that your business’s WiFi network will work optimally at all times. As you can imagine, achieving WiFi Assurance is a full-time job that requires monitoring the entire network ecosystem 24/7 so that issues can be identified and resolved proactively. This proactive response prevents end-users from being affected and safeguards business processes from any downtime.
Because of the dynamic nature of WiFi, the thousands of devices connected to every network, and the challenges presented by working with remote sites, businesses should automate the Assurance process with a WiFi Automation platform. These platforms can analyze tens of thousands of data packets per second, identify changes in real-time, and track long-term trends in network health and performance. With this support, IT teams are free to focus on other mission-critical tasks, and can resolve network issues significantly faster when they do occur.
Improve the User Experience
If there’s one constant with any WiFi network, it’s that it is constantly changing. If IT teams work to optimize a network for Monday morning, they know that they can’t then walk away and trust that the network will remain optimized. It might take an hour or it might take days, but the network is going to change, and some of those changes are going to have negative repercussions for end users. When users are responsible for monitoring an entire distribution network, they can’t afford any downtime. Manufacturers, retailers, distributors, and agents all need to be able to monitor processes throughout the retail life cycle.
WiFi Automation platforms that use artificial intelligence (AI) to proactively monitor the entire network ecosystem can learn to recognize normal and abnormal network behavior. This includes analyzing infrastructure, devices (WiFi and non-WiFi), and nearby networks sharing the same airspace. When interference and other issues strike down the network, the root cause will be traced back to one of these sources. Businesses that are constantly monitoring the entire ecosystem will be able to identify the root cause faster, and therefore resolve issues faster. This protects their network and optimizes their business, giving them a boost ahead of their competitors.
For the best ROI, retailers should work with a platform that automatically identifies the root cause of the issues (rather than simply alerting IT that there’s been a problem), and provides actionable solutions with issue alerts. This allows IT to resolve issues before end users are affected.
An automation platform can minimize costs in two main ways: by reducing remote site visits, and by providing the means to cost-effectively scale an IT department.
Reduced Site Visits
If IT has to travel offsite to troubleshoot and resolve a WiFi network issue, it costs businesses time and money. In addition to travel costs, longer travel times mean a delay in resolution, which can negatively impact business performance and operational efficiency. Distributed retail enterprises can avoid these issues with an automation platform that provides remote access.
If IT can remotely monitor and troubleshoot all networks, they can keep the network optimized from any location. This saves time during normal business operations and is critical during any situation that prohibits travel. With this support, businesses can rest assured that no matter where IT is based, problems can be identified and resolved in real-time.
Scaling IT Departments
With ever-growing networks and up to tens of thousands of connected devices to monitor at multiple different locations, IT teams have their work cut out for them. Working with a platform that can monitor 500 devices as easily as 50,000 reduces IT’s burden and provides teams with much needed support.
Predict the Future
If businesses want to future-proof their network, they must be able to predict future needs. While there’s no crystal ball currently available, platforms that automatically store historical data and provide analytics on long-term trends present administrators with key insights into network changes. These insights reveal details on the health of network infrastructure, client distribution, noise level, utilization, and more. Armed with these details, administrators can make the best decisions on how to upgrade their specific network, rather than simply responding to general network trends.
If you want to know that something is truly working, you have to test it. The same rule applies to your WiFi network. At the bare minimum, networks should be tested after significant changes – such as adding new devices or restructuring a workspace. However, the best test results and analytics come from regularly scheduled testing.
With consistent tests, IT constantly has “eyes on the network.” This minimizes surprises that can turn into major headaches. Remember, the network is constantly changing. Devices connect and disconnect, applications are downloaded, software is upgraded, neighboring businesses swap out their APs…the list of changes goes on and on. The question becomes not whether the network was affected, but how it was affected.
For the best insights, work with a platform that will connect to the network as if it’s an end user. Test results will therefore accurately represent what end users are experiencing.
If you believe that your WiFi is critical, then you should consider WiFi Automation just as critical. Networks are only going to grow more diverse, dynamic, and complex. Businesses that can’t monitor, troubleshoot, and optimize in real-time are going to suffer.
As you look for the best automation platform for your locations, be sure to choose one that is vendor agnostic. This capability means that the same platform can be used at every location, and that the platform will continue providing analytics even if AP and internet vendors change.
Consider the Wyebot Wireless Intelligence Platform (WIP), which offers:
- 90% faster Mean-Time-to-Resolution
- 60% fewer WiFi problem tickets
- 80% fewer remote site visits
Critical WiFi Assurance
Protect the foundation of your business’s critical processes with a WiFi Automation platform. It’s time to say goodbye to performance and connectivity issues and hello to streamlined reliability. Choose WiFi Assurance today.